Thirty-seven reservist fighter pilots out of the 40 stationed at the Israel Air Force’s 69th fighter squadron have declared their intention not to turn up for regular training flights on Wednesday in protest of the government’s judicial overhaul.
The reservists, who fly the strategic F-15i that is capable of attacking distant targets in the region, announced their decision on Sunday to the senior commanders of the IAF and to their squadron commander. Instead of training, they have said they will hold a dialogue regarding the issue under debate outside of government offices. [Continue reading…]
The elite commando squad that rescued hostages in Entebbe in 1976 published a letter on Saturday slamming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “sacrificing the State of Israel and the people of Israel for your own interests.”
The premier’s brother Yoni Netanyahu was killed while leading the Sayeret Matkal force in the operation.
“We were privileged to be among the handful of fighters to break into Entebbe, under our cool-headed and brave commander Yoni Netanyahu, who consciously and with open eyes sacrificed himself for the State of Israel and the people of Israel,” the veterans wrote.
“It’s sad, but you, Bibi, are consciously and with open eyes sacrificing the State of Israel and the people of Israel for your own interests,” they charged, using Netanyahu’s nickname in an apparent reference to his ongoing trial, which some say is a factor in the coalition’s full-steam-ahead approach to the overhaul. [Continue reading…]
In more than 20 years of public life, I have steadfastly supported Israel and its people in both word and deed, including by building medical facilities there, co-founding a leadership center, supporting its innovative local programs and funding other good causes. I have never gotten involved in its domestic politics or criticized its government initiatives. But my love for Israel, my respect for its people and my concern about its future are now leading me to speak out against the current government’s attempt to effectively abolish the nation’s independent judiciary.
Under the new coalition’s proposal, a simple majority of the Knesset could overrule the nation’s Supreme Court and run roughshod over individual rights, including on matters such as speech and press freedoms, equal rights for minorities and voting rights. The Knesset could even go as far as to declare that the laws it passes are unreviewable by the judiciary, a move that calls to mind Richard Nixon’s infamous phrase “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is courting disaster by trying to claim that same power, imperiling Israel’s alliances around the world, its security in the region, its economy at home and the very democracy upon which the country was built.
The economic damage is already being felt, as the pummeling of the shekel has showed. A broad swath of business leaders and investors have spoken out against the government’s proposal, publicly and privately. And in a disturbing sign, some people have already begun pulling money out of the country and re-evaluating their plans for future growth there. As the owner of a global company, I don’t blame them. [Continue reading…]